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Step outside and take part in a parkrun; OUT AND ABOUT.

IF you've been inspired by the London Marathon and fancy putting on your running shoes, there is a free timed 5km event near you which is held every single weekend.

There are 23 senior parkruns held each week in Wales and all of them take place in stunning locations that are safe (because they are car free) and easily accessible to everyone.

Absolutely anyone can take part - whether it's your first steps at running or you're a wannabe Olympian. Each parkrun takes place on a Saturday morning at 9am.

1. Aberstwyth Where: Plascrug Park, Plascrug Avenue, Aberystwyth SY23 1HL.

The course begins with an out-and back on the wide middle path through Plascrug park, followed by three anticlockwise laps on the outer paths, then onto the middle path again for the finish.

Plascrug is tree-lined and shady in summer and relatively sheltered in winter.

The course is run entirely on tarmac paths.

2. Barry Island Where: Barry Island Promenade, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, CF62 5TJ.

Starting underneath the Eastern Shelter, head along the promenade towards Marco's Cafe. Turn right and right again at the end of the promenade to head through the gardens above the promenade and towards the headland of Jackson's Bay.

Turn left at the Coastguard station, up a short, steep slope, turn left again at the top of the slope and retrace your steps back to the start.

Once back at the start, repeat the above once more and finish under Eastern Shelter.

3. Tredegar Where: Parc Bryn Bach, Tredegar, NP22 3AY.

Two laps of a fast, scenic, trafficfree course. The course uses a path that loops the lake. You run the loop in a clockwise direction (water on your right hand side).

It's run on tarmac but except puddles after rain!

4. CardiffWhere: It's run at Blackweir in Cardiff.

The course is along The Taff trail, within Bute Park and run entirely on tarmac footpaths.

The Start/Finish area is on the Taff Trail alongside the Tesco building.

5. Colby Where: Colby Woodland Garden (National Trust), near Amroth, Pembrokeshire, SA67 8PP.

The course is a three lap undulating course along trail paths through the meadow and woodlands. The terrain is mostly gravel tracks but crosses some compact earth and grass, so can accumulate puddles after some rain.

6. Conwy Where: RSPB Nature Reserve, Llandudno Junction, Conwy, LL31 9XZ. The course is run on a mixture of tarmac paths and gravel paths.

And The Waterside Cafe is a popular spot for a post-run refuel.

7. Cwmbran Where: Northfields Recreation Ground, Cwmbran, NP44 2JJ.

The course starts near the Olive Tree on Edlogan Way and proceeds South along the river. After a turn to the right the course heads away from the river and into South Fields via the subway. The course goes back onto the path and does a lap of the boating lake before retracing the previous route back to the start.

It's on a mixture of tarmac paths, grass and wood chippings.

8. Dolgellau Where: The event takes place at The Marian, Dolgellau, LL40 1DL.

This has two laps, each one is an out and back loop on an old railway line - the Mawddach Trail.

Starting from the car park, the course is flat and heads towards Barmouth, over the footbridge and turns just after picnic bench. There will be cones and a marshal to give directions. Then back to the car park, before running out over the footbridge again. The finish is back in the car park area.

9. Erddig Where: Erddig Hall, Erddig, Wrexham, LL13 0YT.

The course starts in front of Erddig Hall and heads in a loop around the upper forest before coming back past in front of the house. The course is a single loop and run on a mixture of gravel paths and trail paths but there are marshals throughout the route to help you go the right way.

10. Gnoll Where: Gnoll Estate Country Park, Fairyland, Neath, SA11 3BS.

This is a three loop clockwise course, consisting of one small loop, one medium loop and one large loop.

The small loop takes runners around the main lake. The medium loop includes the lake and a route around Gnoll House ruins. The large loop includes the lake, a short incline through a wooded area and once more around the ruins. The finish line is the old hollow tree near the visitor centre and cafe.

11. Grangemoor Where: Grangetown, Cardiff, CF11 0SR.

This is a two lap course; each lap is a "T" shape that follows the River Ely. It starts on the Ely Trail alongside the River Ely at the end of Dunleavy Drive where the A4232 passes overhead.

12. Llanelli Coast Where: King George V Playing Fields, Pwll Rd, Pwll, Llanelli, SA15 4AR.

The tarmac course starts on the cycle path, near the tennis courts and park, heading west towards Burry Port, keeping to the wide tarmac path at all times.

At the halfway point, a marshal will be present to turn the runners around the wide turning circle to head back to the finish just outside the Pavilion Cafe.

13. Llyn Llech Owain Where: Llyn Llech Owain, Gorslas, SA14 7NF.

The course follows the Llyn Llech Owain Red Route going anti-clock wise around the lake (so the lake is always on your left hand side).

Consisting mainly of a gravel trail until you reach the visitors centre where there is a small section of tarmac before you head back into the woods. Go over the wooden bridge and past the cafe and alongside the car park before starting the second lap. The finish is just after the wooden bridge and next to the cafe and toilets.

14. Merthyr Where: Merthyr Leisure Village, Merthyr Tydfil, CF48 1UT.

It's the newest parkrun to come to Wales and kicks off outside the leisure centre where it also finishes.

15. Newport Where: It's run in the grounds of Tredegar House, Newport, NP10 8YW.

This is a flat two lap anti-clockwise course, with a few twists and turns through the beautiful grounds of Tredegar House. The terrain is var-ied; gravel tracks, bark lined paths, compact earth and grass, so can accumulate puddles after rain.

Where: There is a second parkrun on the riverfront, Kingsway, Newport, NP20 1HG This is a flat out and back run following the path along the River Usk. It runs past the iconic Newport City footbridge, under the Southern Distributor Road bridge to the sailing ship scultptures and returns to the finishing line at The Wave sculpture.

16. Penallta Where: Penallta House, Tredomen Park, Ystrad Mynach, CF82 7PG.

At the start point - the Tredomen Park entrance to Penallta Park - there is a large map board where the parkrun route is clearly visible. Runners need to keep to the left as it's a popular cycling route.

17. Penrhyn Where: Penrhyn Castle, Llandegai, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 4HN.

The course starts outside the castle gates and finishes just beyond the 19th Century neo-Norman castle gates. One of the most beautiful and picturesque runs of North Wales.

18. Pontypool Where: Pontypool Park, Torfaen, NP4 8AT.

This is a two lap course. It is relatively flat with a few gentle climbs, one short sharp climb, two 90 degree turns and two 180 degree turns. The route follows tarmac paths within the Park but is liable to some flooding in bad weather particularly near the start / lap turn around.

19. Pontypridd Where: Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Bridge Street, Pontypridd, CF37 4PE.

The start is next to the tennis courts, directly opposite the footbridge entrance to the park.

You will run past the Lido, cricket pitch and football pitch and when you've passed the Lido for the third time, you're almost done.

20. Porthcawl Where: Porthcawl Seafront.

Starting on the Lower Promenade the course meanders along the Esplanade and West Drive Foreshore before climbing up on to the open expanse of Locks Common.

Dropping into Rest Bay stopping short of the Lifeguard Station, at the end of the Coastal Pathway the course returns to the Pier and "Chessboard " finish.

21. Swansea Bay Where: 360 Beach & Watersports, Mumbles Rd, Swansea, SA2 0AY.

This is an out and back course along the seafront starting at the Cenotaph, heading towards Mumbles.

The turn is at Blackpill and returns along the same course, finishing at 360 Beach & Watersports.

21. Connah's Quay Where: Wepre Park, Wepre Drive, Connah's Quay, Deeside CH5 4HL.

The route is entirely on the paths around the park. In places these paths can be muddy and slippery. As the routes goes through wooded areas there are likely to be tree stumps and roots and other trip hazards so be careful.

It is an undulating route; there is around 500 feet of climbing (and downhill).

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 5, 2017
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